President Arbery Announces “Full Speed Ahead!” For Fall Semester

Lander, WY (June 1, 2020)— “We realize that this is a time of significant uncertainty,” said Dr. Glenn Arbery, President of Wyoming Catholic College. “But here in Lander, we’re happy to put one uncertainty, at least, to rest: I am pleased to announce that there will be in-person classes at Wyoming Catholic College this fall!”

“We’re always grateful to call Wyoming home,” continued Dr. Arbery, “but the state’s response to this pandemic makes us even more grateful. Our in-person graduation ceremony in late May—a wonderful opportunity to give the Class of 2020 the send-off it deserved—was one of the few commencement events to take place in the world of higher education this year, and we’re convinced it could not have happened anywhere but in Wyoming. Regular conversations with our state, county, and local medical officials have been extremely helpful in our attempts to plan for the various situations that might arise in the coming months. We are committed to returning our students and professors to the classroom for in-person classes, because the last few months have taught us how blessed we are to be part of a vibrant, immersive educational community. We need to do it as prudently and safely as possible, of course, but we’re determined to do it.”

Jon Tonkowich, the College’s Executive Vice President, confirmed that the various high-school and adult programs that are held in Lander each summer are proceeding as planned, albeit with a few more restrictions and contingencies in place, to ensure the safety of each program’s participants. “Our PEAK programs for high-schoolers will be taking place in late June and early July, and they’re both pretty well filled,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of discussions—both internally and with Dr. Brian Gee, our county medical officer—and the ideas that have come from those discussions will make it possible for us to share these beautiful summer months at Wyoming Catholic with our young attendees in ways that are both safe and exciting. Having a summer’s worth of practice in implementing these new health directives with smaller groups will help us to be even better prepared for the fall, when our students return to Lander to resume their full-time, in-person studies.”

Dean Kyle Washut acknowledges that things will look a bit different in the fall, particularly with regards to hygiene and social distancing practices, as well as updated residence and dining protocols. The announcement to proceed with the 2020 Fall Semester came only after the College’s administration spent significant time crafting contingency plans for what the College would do if a second wave of the virus were to surge nationally, or if there were to be a local outbreak. “We’ve come up with a tiered approach to the COVID challenge,” said Dean Washut, “with options ranging from ‘business-as-usual’ all the way through to ‘doom-and-gloom.’ Candidly, we do not anticipate needing to implement the more apocalyptic scenarios we’ve considered, but we wanted to be prepared for them, all the same.”

“We realize that the ability to keep our students safe and healthy is greatly enhanced by our location,” Dr. Arbery acknowledged. “And we know that many of our peers do not have the benefit of the wide-open spaces we call home. But that’s Wyoming for you—safely social distancing since 1890.”

Interview requests should be directed to Joseph Susanka at

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